Mahatma Gandhi very precisely described democracy as “It is machinery in which the individual will is government and limited by the social will which is the State, which is government by and for democracy. If every individual takes the law into his own hands, there is no State. It becomes anarchy, i.e., absence of social law or State, that way lies destruction of liberty. Therefore, you should subdue your anger and let the State secure justice.” Until yesterday we seethed about every problem faced by our city and our locality. Crumbling civic amenities, lack of accountability, no transparency; the issues seemed endless. And they never failed to make our blood boil. But today we have the answer to all these problems. Today we have RTI.
“The exercise of RTI is the simplest form of participatory governance. Slowly yet steadily, each individual can change the face of the democracy.”- Shailesh Gandhi, RTI ACTIVIST
To intensify the process of paradigm shift from state centric to citizen centric model of development the Right to Information Moment in India came into existence in 1990s. The Right to information Act 2005 came fully into effect on 12th October 2005 is one of the most significant legislations enacted by the Parliament of India. The Act enables establishment of an unprecedented regime of right to information for the citizens of the country. This has opened new vistas of governance through transparency and accountability in administration.One sided information, disinformation, misinformation and non-information makes democracy a farce. True democracy cannot exist unless all citizens have a right to participate in the affairs of the polity of the country. It should be remembered that Public bodies hold information not for themselves, but as custodians of the public good and everyone has a right to access this information, subject only to clearly well defined rules established by law. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” In a government of responsibility like ours, where all the agents of the public must be responsible for their conduct, there can be but few secrets. The people of this country have a right to know every public act, everything that is done in a public way, by their public functionaries. Through this we can now expose corruption and also bring to light those duties that are not being performed by the officials. Through all this we can also seek solutions to our problems. We can ask information about projects and plans. We can inspect files and check for any misappropriations. The government spends a huge amount of money for development work. We can ask for information about the work being done in our area. Awareness among the people about the use of RTI has had a great effect on the working culture of the government. It has made the officials more responsible towards the dispensation of their duties.
By: Harsh Agarwal